Ex-Blackwater trainer faces drug charges in Canada
Virginian Pilot (2008-09-17) Bill Sizemore
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A man who held a high-profile job training Blackwater security contractors for duty in Iraq now sits in a Canadian jail awaiting trial on cocaine trafficking charges.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said they arrested Slavko Ilic, 41, in June in Kitchener, Ontario, where he lives, in connection with the seizure of 35 kilograms of cocaine. Denied bail, he faces a preliminary court proceeding next week.
In addition to the drugs, which have a street value of some $3 million, police said they seized three vehicles, financial records, cell phones, computers and $25,000 in cash. Two other men also were arrested.
Ilic figured prominently in a six-part series about Blackwater Worldwide
,, the Moyock, N.C.-based private military company, published in The Virginian-Pilot in 2006. The burly Bosnian with a shaved head and goatee divided his time between Blackwater VIP protection details in Iraq and training recruits in martial arts at the Moyock compound.
Ilic also was featured in "Shadow Company," a 2006 documentary film about the private military business. He claims to hold black belts in five martial arts and to be a former world champion in jujitsu.
Thousands of contractors trained by Ilic and other Blackwater instructors have cycled through Iraq protecting U.S. diplomatic personnel under a contract with the State Department that has brought the company more than $700 million. Blackwater has been criticized for its aggressive tactics, most notably a shooting incident in a Baghdad intersection a year ago that left 17 Iraqi civilians dead.
According to The Record, a newspaper in Kitchener, police raided Ilic's home in the summer of 2006 after his estranged wife alleged that he had threatened to blow her up if she tried to leave with their two children.
Ilic was charged with a variety of weapons and drug offenses after police found 10,000 rounds of ammunition, explosive devices, $14,000 in cash and $2,000 worth of methamphetamines and Ecstasy, the newspaper reported. When he pleaded guilty to two of the charges, according to the paper, the rest were dismissed and he was released on probation. Besides his security work, the paper said, Ilic owns three massage parlors.
He itches for the war zone regularly, Ilic told a Pilot reporter in 2006: "If this is what you do, there's nothing like being there - in the moment, on the edge, beating the odds."
A Blackwater spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment.
Bill Sizemore, (757) 446-2276, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Slavko Ilic, a former trainer for Blackwater security contractors on duty in Iraq.: